The Associated Press April 28, 2011, 3:03AM ET

Gov't to urge food companies to limit ads for kids

Commercials promoting sugary breakfast cereals could be put on a strict diet under government guidelines urging food companies to limit marketing of unhealthy products to children.

Under guidelines obtained by The Associated Press, companies would be urged to only market foods to children ages 2 through 17 if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and contain specified healthy ingredients. The government is planning to propose the voluntary guidelines Thursday, according to three people familiar with the process who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The guidelines set parameters that are stricter than many companies have set for themselves and, if the companies agree, would eliminate much of the advertising consumers see today -- on television, in magazines, in stores and on the Internet -- for foods that appeal to children.

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